F-Light Celebrates Christmas, Honors COVID Workers, and Pays Homage to Dante

Ponte Vecchio illuminated by F-Light for the holidays

Dalla selva oscura alla luce (“From the dark forest to the light”), writes the Italian poet Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy. This famous line takes on new meaning during a year full of difficulties and is inspiration for this year’s annual Florence Light Festival (F-Light). The 2020 edition, titled “Sight, from the dark forest to the light,” pays homage to Dante, who turns 700 this year, as his words are a metaphor for a hopeful and brighter future. Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8 until Wednesday, Jan. 6. from 5:30 to 10 pm every evening, residents can view the luminous installations at various locations within and beyond the city. 

Promoted by the Municipality and Chamber of Commerce of Florence, as well as supported by Terna Spa, Conad, and Mukki, and organized by MUS.E with the artistic direction of Sergio Risaliti, F-Light will decorate urban spaces with light thanks to video-mapping, projections, and art installations. The light show will reimagine the city, illuminating main squares such as Ponte Vecchio and Forte Belvedere, as well as building such as Palazzo Medici Riccardi and the Museo Novecento of 20th and 21st Century Art. 

In particular, Ponte Vecchio will turn into a fresco of geometric images and verses from Dante’s poem thanks to the light installation “The other side of life,” curated by Sergio Risaliti and The Fake Factory. The Chamber of Commerce will also be lit up with Dante’s verses, while the Novecento Museum will reflect a light installation by Claire Fontaine and curated by Paolo Ugolini and Sergio Risaliti. From December 12 through March 11 the facade of the former Leopoldine building in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, the words “We are with you in the night” will project towards viewers as a message of solidarity and community during these isolating months.

Forte Belvedere will be lit up for the first time, displaying a scenography of light–blue, white, red and green–the colors of Florence’s historic center neighborhoods, curated by Silfi Spa. In addition to these light shows, The Rampe del Poggi and the historic Florentine city gates and doors (Porta alla Croce, Porta al Prato, Porta Romana, Porta San Niccolò, Porta San Gallo and Porta San Frediano), as well as Piazza SS. Annunziata and Piazza San Firenze, will also be illuminated. 

Lights will also reach neighborhoods outside the historic center and be found in all four suburban districts. Installations will be installed in Piazza delle Cure, Piazza Niccolò Tommaseo in Settignano, and the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Q2, Piazza Gino Bartali in Favinano and Piazza Niccolò Acciaiuoli al Galluzzo in Q3, Piazza dell’Isolotto and Piazza Paolo Uccello in Q4, and Le Piagge – Viper Theater and the San Donato Park in Novoli in Q5. There will also be a special tribute dedicated to hospitals and frontline workers who have been working tirelessly these past few months to fight against Covid. The installation, titled “The beacons of resistance: faith, hope, charity,” will touch Piazza della Repubblica, the Baptistery of Florence, and the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova with three light beams projected towards the sky each evening.

The initiative “Three Artist Trees,” which debuted in the 2019 edition with help from the Museo Novecento and Sergio Risaliti, will return this holiday season, as well. The project invites three internationally renowned artists to create their own interpretations of an iconic holiday symbol: a Christmas tree. Artists Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mimmo Paladino, and Domenico Bianchi will return to F-Light this year to design unique Christmas trees that will be installed in Piazza Gino Bartali, Piazza Santo Spirito, and Piazza Santa Maria Novella respectively. The first two will be available for viewing beginning Dec. 8, while the third will not be available until Dec. 15.

F-Light is also organizing permanent installations to leave a “lasting sign” on the city. Illuminations will decorate statues in Piazza Indipendenza, a show curated by Silfi Spa, as well as Via Calzaiuoli and other streets and squares in the heart of the city. –are lighting up the facade of Forte Belvedere high on a hilltop above the city.

Local leaders including mayor Dario Nardella, councilor for tourism Cecilia Del Re, councilor for commerce Federico Gianassi, and councilor for culture Tommaso Sacchi, all agree that this Christmas season will look different than years before but Florence will still organize festivities as a symbol of hope towards a safer future post-pandemic.  (elizabeth berry)

 To view the entire program check out their website: www.flightfirenze.it.